It’s less than two weeks until spring training (pitchers and catchers report February 12 – hooray!), and the two biggest free agents, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado have not yet been signed. Since it is so close to spring training, Bryce and Manny have to be a little nervous wondering where they will be playing this season.
So why haven’t Bryce and Manny been signed yet? I have some thoughts on the matter. First, I think teams are wary of long term contracts, especially 10-year contracts. Teams see the 10-year contract that Albert Pujols received from the Angels and how that deal turned out. Albert can no longer play the field; the only position he can play now is designated hitter. Bryce is only 26 years old, but a 10-year contract would put him at age 36 when the contract is over. Players start to decline in their early 30s. Second, Bryce’s agent is Scott Boras. That name strikes fear in the hearts of teams’ management. He is a tough guy to negotiate with.
Will the Cards sign Harper? The fans and my fellow bloggers are campaigning for this, but (if you’ll pardon my pun), I don’t think it’s in the cards. Even with the Tommy Pham trade, there is still a logjam in the outfield. While it’s true that this is the last year of Marcell Ozuna’s contract and it is anticipated that he will walk, there are plenty of outfielders at the minor league level who will be ready to move up. It’s not that the Cardinals don’t want to spend the money (we saw that during the last off-season when they tried to get Christian Yelich); I think it’s the length of the contract that bothers Cards management.
Don’t we all entertain thoughts of what we would do if we were part of the Cards’ management team, though? Here’s what I would do. I don’t want Manny. He doesn’t hustle and that’s not a good look. I would like to sign Bryce, but I would not offer him a 10-year contract. I would offer him a 7-year deal at $300M, with opt-outs by either the player or the team at 3 years and 5 years.
Ken Rosenthal posted on Twitter today that Bryce will be meeting with the Padres tomorrow. The Padres? Wouldn’t Bryce like to be on a winning team? Especially a team with a rich history like the Cardinals. If I were Bryce, I would go back to the Nationals with my tail between my legs and accept the qualifying offer rather than play for the Padres. There are reports that Bryce has talked to the White Sox, the Phillies, and a couple of other teams. Manny has spoken with the Phillies too.
Hopeful Manny and Bryce will sign with teams soon. I am reminded of last season when the Cards signed Greg Holland at the ninth hour, and he pitched poorly since he didn’t get a chance to go through spring training. Holland signed a one year contract with the D’backs today. I hope he pitches better for them than he did for us.
Even though we probably won’t get Harper, I’m glad that baseball will start again soon. It’s been a long cold winter, especially this week. I’m ready for spring to come. Thanks for reading! See you next time!